The Slatest

Nick Ayers Refuses Trump’s Offer to Become Chief of Staff

Nick Ayers, the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, stands outside a meeting with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill, December 5, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
Nick Ayers, the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, stands outside a meeting with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill, December 5, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

It’s been a bad week for President Donald Trump. And the weekend didn’t stop the bad news as word came on Sunday night that his first choice to replace John Kelly as White House chief of staff won’t take the job after all. There were already rumors that maybe Nick Ayers, who is chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, wasn’t that interested in the job even though he had repeatedly been described as the frontrunner. Ayers wrote a tweet Sunday that didn’t specifically mention the White House chief of staff job but left little room for doubt. “Thank you @realDonaldTrump, @VP, and my great colleagues for the honor to serve our Nation at The White House,” he wrote. “I will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause.”

The tweet came after negotiations between Trump and Ayers on the terms of the position collapsed, apparently because the 36-year-old who is father of young triplets didn’t want to commit to the two years that the president was demanding. Ayers had reportedly offered to take the position on an interim basis until the spring but Trump was adamant that he wanted someone he could count on being there for the rest of his term.

In addition to the length of the commitment though, there was also some resistance within senior administration officials to appoint Ayers to the job out of fear that it could push other people to leave the administration.

For now it remains unclear who will take the chief of staff job once Kelly resigns. Others considered to be possible contenders for the job include Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, according to the New York Times. Axios reports Trump is considering four candidates for the job, including Rep. Mark Meadows from North Carolina.